The first leg of the trip is pretty boring.....from Chatham, through Toronto and then heading straight north. Once we get into the Barrie/Orillia area, we really start to feel we are getting there and by the time we get north of Huntsville it is the land dominated by rocks, hills, lakes and trees. This first image is just a short distance north of Huntsville, right along Hwy 11. The lake probably has a name, but I haven't investigated to find out what it is. Regardless of its name, or lack of one, it is a place I stop at briefly, sometimes venturing across 4 lanes of traffic, just to enjoy the view while numerous vehicles are impatiently heading to their respective destinations.
We like fresh spring water---a welcome treat from the municipal water---and there is an accessible spring a short distance off the highway at Novar where we stop and fill up several water jugs. However as soon as one gets off the highway and prepares to travel down this paved side road towards the spring, one sees this next scene.
A little farther north again is a place that I discovered several years ago, and is one of my favourite places to take a break. It is Brooks Falls, and I have stopped numerous times over the years, in all seasons. The Magnetawan River flows here, and depending on the water flow, can look impressively powerful at least close-up. The access is via a municipal park by the name of the falls, and one can park just a few metres from the trail that takes you to several vantage points.
The day we visited this year was bright and sunny, not conducive for the best photography here. These first two images are a couple of my favourites from a previous time, one in mid-September and the other two weeks later.
Owing to the bright, contrasty conditions, I focussed on areas that were in shadow where I could capture more intimate scenes.
One of my favourite places to explore while at North Bay is Laurier Woods Conservation Area. It is almost 100 hectares of natural area within the city limits of North Bay....what a concept, and what a treat! There are several kilometres of trails.
|Sunset Point Park|
I also checked out the Callander Sewage Lagoon for birds, and of course Laurier Woods. Another spot at the south end of North Bay was Champlain Park, right along the lake and with a small river passing through it.
Given the time of year (second week of October) and limited time spent birding (it was primarily a family-oriented trip), I didn't see any really unexpected birds, but had a good array. Most were waterbirds, and included Common Loon, White-winged Scoter, Horned Grebe and various duck species. I think my total was about 30 species, and I dutifully entered my observations on ebird. At least now I have a better idea of where to spend birding time in the future, and have some other ideas of places to visit such as the Cranberry Trail, which goes about 2.5 km through the forest and includes marsh and lake viewing. It is nice having such extensive natural habitat within minutes of where we were staying.
While in North Bay, a visit to Duchesnay Falls is always a treat. It is located right along the highway leading out of the northwest side of the city.
|Duchesnay Falls, the overview look|
|Duchesnay Falls, the close-up view|